A drive up Sugonoi hill along the Nakuru-Elementaita road is both scary and exciting.
Scary because the terrain is so steep that you feel like you will roll down, yet exciting because of the scenic view of Lake Elementaita and the hills around it.
As you drive up, a group of about five men are busy taking measurements of a piece of land. As we discover, they are subdividing it for a share of inheritance.
But one thing is quite disturbing for anyone watching these men and who is bothered about the Covid-19 pandemic and how fast it is spreading. Only one of the men, who seems to be the surveyor, is wearing a face mask.
Driving further up, children are grazing livestock and women are seen carrying bundles of firewood on their backs. Still, there is minimal use of face masks.
We soon arrive at the United Methodists Trinity Church at the top of Sugonoi hills, facing Kanjuiri hills in Nyandarua.
Like other places of worship across the country, the door to the main church is locked. No much activities are going at the church and this will be the case until the government lifts its ban on social and religious gatherings.
However, a room on the left side of the church is open.
It is here that we find Pastor Ruth Mwangi, sewing light-green face masks.
JOURNEY TO NAKURU
Ordinarily, it would cost a resident of this place not less than Sh550 as transport alone to travel to Nakuru and buy a face mask.
“People here would want to use face masks as per the government’s requirements but there is barely money for food, let alone fare to travel to Nakuru and shop for these vital protective gears,” says Pastor Mwangi, who ministers at the United Methodists Church in Ngorika.
Following the Ministry of Health guidelines, women from this church discovered that they could no longer attend even important gatherings such as funerals and chamas as they did not have face masks.
Besides, they were concerned about other villagers who could not access masks.
Since they started their project two weeks ago, the women have made about 150 masks which they have all sold at Sh50 each, a price which covers just the cost of production.
To meet the demand, they have so far made 60 masks at the time of this interview, all which are booked for collection.
“We decided to make three-ply masks and sell them at Sh50 each in order to bridge the gap and ensure safety for us as well as other villagers,” says Nancy Wambui, the church’s women president.
They have three sewing machines, a donation they received from John Wesley United Methodist Church in the USA.
“We have been using the machines to sew dresses and school uniforms which we sell to raise money for church projects,” says Pastor Mwangi.
“Little did we know that the Covid19 pandemic would hit this country and make the machines even more useful,” she adds.
On the day of this interview, United Methodist Church Central District Bishop Josam Kariuki had visited the women. He hailed them for the project which he said came in handy especially for the needy.
“It is great to see church members come up with ideas on how to help a village like this one during this pandemic,” says Bishop Kariuki.
This, he adds, is an act of selflessness and a testimony of the true gospel of serving the needy.
He encouraged the women to also give health talks to their customers by preaching the gospel of good hygiene practices such as washing hands and sanitising frequently.
Besides earning them some money, Bishop Kariuki says the sewing project has been helping women in evangelising among themselves and in sharing social challenges.
“We hope that Covid-19 will soon be gone so that normal operations can resume,” says Bishop Kariuki.
For now, he urges church members to live their calling by offering a holistic gospel through assisting each other spiritually, emotionally and materially.